Meaningful funeral services still possible despite Coronavirus restrictions

A Norfolk family has been speaking about their experiences of arranging a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek LeFevre was a much-loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather.  His beloved wife Brenda died late last year.  He was well known as a specialist plasterer working in stately homes including Holkham Hall.  After retirement, Derek was a popular character at Top Farm Equestrian Centre in Weston Longville and was known and loved by staff and customers.  He spent all his retired years living close to his children and grandchildren.

Derek was admitted to hospital after a fall.  His family, being his main carers, decided to go into self-isolation to not only keep themselves safe but also to be able to care for their father once he came home.  Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak this meant he had no visitors during the week he spent in hospital where he unexpectedly died.

Given the lives he touched, Derek’s funeral would normally have been very well attended.  However, government restrictions meant his service could only be attended by a maximum of ten people, all of whom adhered to social distancing guidelines.  The crematorium did broadcast a live webcast which allowed relatives in Majorca, Ibiza and New Zealand to watch the service.

Despite the restrictions, Derek’s daughter Sandra has been able to see the positive side: “When we put it into perspective, we are still lucky to have been able to have a funeral for him despite it not being quite the send-off he deserves.  We know right now there are many people losing loved ones to this awful virus that are not even able to have that.”

“The service felt so positive in that we were still able to celebrate his life.  All my relations who viewed the service online said what a lovely service it was.  We all had so many messages on our phones from family who were watching so it felt like they were with us.”

Beverley Bulmer, Rosedale Funeral Home’s Bereavement Support Group Facilitator, was the Celebrant at Derek’s funeral service.  She says although there are difficulties to overcome during the restrictions, it is still possible to hold a meaningful service.  “The family still managed to include a lovely order of service and were able to celebrate his life.  It is really important to have a ceremony to say goodbye as part of the grieving process.  The tone is slightly different, but it can still nonetheless be meaningful.”

Sandra LeFevre added: “We feel grateful to Rosedale Funeral Home for making the funeral run as smoothly as it can at this strange time and offering a way for our family members that couldn’t be here to watch and feel part of it.  We were treated with the same respect as we would be normally.  I really felt looked after in everything we went through.”

Rosedale are collating a library of family experiences that will appear on this website, which hopefully will provide inspiration for others who are bereaved at this time.